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"THE NAME AND FAMILY OF MOTHERSHEAD - The Media Research Bureau Washington D.C. The name of Mothershead is derived from the residence of its first bearers at Mottershead, in Cheshire, England. The name is composed of the ancient Saxon personal name of MODHERE, which means "courageous army", and HEVED or HEAD, a shortened form of Headland. In ancient English and early American records the name appears in the various spellings of; Modhereshead, Modhershead, Mottersheved, Mottresheved, Mottershad, Mottershet, Mottershedde, Mottershead, Motherset, Mothersead, Mothershet , Mothershed, Mothershead, and others. Of these, the forms using the H in the first half of the name are almost entirely American, the last mentioned spelling being that most frequently in evidence in America in modern times.
According to family historians, one Edward, son of Gamylor Gamul, of Mottram, County Chester, gave to his son, William, the lands of Mottesheved, in Mottram, in twelfth or thirteenth century. This son was called William de Mottershead, and descendants were the Mottershed of Mottram.
The earliest definite records of the name in England include those of Robert de Mottresheved, who was living in Cheshire as early as 1303;
those of Richard de Mottershead, of Mottram, A.D. 1337, who was probably the father by his wife Margery of a son of the same name " Richard", whose son, Edmund Mottershead, was living in Mottram in 1394;
those of John de Mottershead, of Motram, in 1415;
those of Edmund de Mottershead, of Mottram, in 1437;
those of John de Mottershead , of Mottram, 1443; and
those of Richard de Mottershead, of Mottram, i n 1445.
A record, dated 1517, mentions the brothers Geoffrey, Nicholas , John, and Ralph Motterhead of Mottram, of whom the first (Geoffrey) was the father of at least two sons, John and Thomas
(1). Thomas(1) Motters head, of Mottram, probably son of Geoffrey, was living in the year 1580 and was the father of three sons, Geoffrey, Thomas(2), and Hugh.
Of these, Thomas(2) married Mary Wyche, of Alderly, in Cheshire, and had issue by her of a son named Thomas(3). The last was the father by his wife Martha of a son, Adam Mottershead, who died without issue, as well as another son, Samuel Mottershead, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, and three daughters, Mary, Joan and Martha.
Joseph Mottershead, a descendant of the ancient Cheshire line, was resident ??odley, near Stockport, about the year 1680. He had a son named Joseph, who made his home at Manchester, England, and was first married to Elizabeth Bennet, of the County of Chester, who died 1718. To this union were two daughters Elizabeth and Sarah, as well as a son who died without progeny. By his second wife, the Widow Margaret (nee Hallowes ) Gaskel, whom he married in 1720. Joseph had no further issue.
The first of the family to come to America was Samuel Mothershead, who was living at Appomattox, in Westmoreland Co., Virginia in 1652. The records of his immediate family are not in evidence, but it is probably that he was the progenitor of most, if not all, of the families of the name in the South. This is the more probable since all of the early Mothersheads were residents of Westmorland County, Virginia.
Record has been found John Mothershead, Westmoreland Co., who was forty-six years of age in the year 1707 (bn 1661); of Brooks Mothershead who died in Westmoreland Co., abt.,1717; of Alvin Mothershead who appears as witness to a power of attorney in the same county in 1718; and of John Mothershead, of Westmoreland Co., Virginia, whose will is dated Nov. 13, 1730, recorded May 20, 1731 circuit court Westmoreland Co. Virginia. This will mentions his wife Elizabeth and seven children, Nathaniel, George, Christopher, John(2), Elizabeth , Ann, and Alvin. It also mentions his grandsons; John(3) and Brooks Mothershead, of whom the former was the sons of the second John of this line. John(2 ) Mothershead, son of John(1) and Elizabeth, died abt., 1741. By his wife Ann he was the father of Ann, Elizabeth, Charles, William, John(3), Sarah and Mary. Of the last-mentioned brothers, it seems highly probable that Charles died in 1756, without male progeny; that William died in 1746, since the will of one William Mohershead bearing that date, mentions his brothers, Charles and John, and his sister Sarah Mothershead; and that John died between 1748 and 1750, leaving a daughter named Mary and wife named Sarah. The Will of the last mentioned John also mentions his brother, Charles Mothershead, of Westmoreland County.
Christopher Mothershead, son of John and Elizabeth, mentioned above, died in Westmorland co., Virginia abt., 1745. He mentions in his Will, of that date, his Wife Elenor " and the child that she goes with"; his daughter Sarah , and his son Christopher. The will of this Christopher, dated 1746, mentions Nathaniel Mothershed (unidentified) and Christopher Mothershed (orphan).
In the year 1752 one Nathaniel Mothershead, of Westmoreland County, Va. appears in a list of voters for Burgeses. Other records of the name in Virginia in the eighteenth century include those of Nathaniel Mothershed; who was married in the year 1772 to Mary Minor; those of John Mothershead, who married Sucky or Sukey Barras in 1788; and those of Humphrey Poe Mothershed, who died about 1792; mentioning in his will of that date, his mother, Penelope Mothershead, and George and John Mothershead, possibly his brothers.
Another Nathaniel Mothershead, who was born in Orange County, Va. in 1754, was married in 1781 to Ruth Burt or Birt, by whom he had twelve children. This branch of the family removed at an early date to Scott County, Ky., where the father died in 1834. The twelve children of Nathaniel and Ruth were Elizabeth, Hannah, Alvin, Joseph, Tahuha, Sarah , Ruth, Nathaniel Jr., Moses BB., Barsilla, Mary, and John Leland Mothershead. According to family historians, several of the before-mentioned children of Nathaniel and Ruth (nee Burt or Birt) Mothershead have been distinguished as Professors, two have been ministers to foreign countries, a knd one a candidate for the office of vice-president. The chief characteristics of the family, as a whole, seem to have been determination of purpose, resourcefulness, and the ability to make friends. Sargent Nathaniel Mothershead, who served with the Virginia Revolutionary forces, was evidently the only member of the family to aid in the fight of the American colonies for freedom from English rule. This was the before-mentioned Nathaniel (b. 1754 ), of Orange County, Va., who later removed to Kentucky. Possible there were two of the same name in the Virginia Revolutionary forces, but this point has not been definitely determined.
William, Richard, Edmund, John, Thomas, Joseph, Samuel, Nathaniel, Christopher, George and Charles are some of the Musculine Christian names favored by the family for it progeny.
The coat of arms borne by the ancient English family of Mottershed (a) d. from which the Mothersheads of America are undoubtedly descended, is described in heraldic terms as folllows (Burke, Encyc lopaedia of Heraldry, 1944) :
Arme .- -'' Sable, on a chevorn argent, between three crosses crosslet or, as many quatrefoils gules.''
Crest.- - ''The stump of a tree proper, a branch vert issuing from the dexter side,''
BIBLIOGRAPHY Harrison. Surnames of the United Kingdom. Vol. 2 1918. Bardsley. English and Welsh Surname. 1901. Hareian Society. Hunter's Familise Minorum Gentium. 1894. Fothergill, Wills of Westmoreland County, Virginia, 16 54-1 800. 1925.
William and Mary Quarterly. Vol.11, 1902-1903 Virginia Magazine of History and Biorgraphy. 1918.
1921 D. Morton. The Mortons and Their Kin. Vol.2. 1920.
Gwatimey. Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution.
1938. Burke. Encdyclopadia of Heraldry.
1844. Burk. General Armory. 1884."
Will of John Mothershead -- died 1731
Will of John MOTTHERSHEAD
In the Name of God Amen. I John Motthershead of ye County of Westmoreland & Parish of Washington being sick and weak but of perfect sence & memory praised be Allmight God for it, doe make this my Last Will & Testament in manner & form following, hereby revoking all other Wills & Testaments by me heretofore made, &c. Imprimis. I committ my Soul into ye hands of Allmighty God &c., and my body to ye Earth to be decently buried by my Exectrs: herafter named &c.
Item. I give & bequeath unto my Son, Nathanell Motthershead the Plantation I now live on & all ye Land therein to belonging to him & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such, then to my Son, Geo: Motthershead & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such, then to my Son, Christopher Motthershead & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such then to ye next heir att Law of ye name of ye Motthershead as long as there is any to be found. I give to my Son, John Motthershead, all that track of land whereon he now lives dureing his life & then to his Son, John Motthershead, & his heirs male for ever; I give to my Daughter, Elizabeth Quesenbery, one Brass Kettle allready in her possession to her & her heirs for ever. I give unto my Daughter, Ann Claytor, two iron pots and an iron spitt allready in her possession to her & her heirs for ever; I give to my Son, Alvin Motthershead my walking cain for ever. I give unto my Son, Christopher Motthershead one two year old heiffer forever. I give unto my Son George Motthershead one Steer of five years old for ever; I give unto my Grandson, Brooks Motthershead one young Mare of three years old provided he bide & remain wth: my Loving Wife & Son, Nathannell till he arrive to ye age of twenty one years. My Will is that my Loving Wife Elizabeth have enjoy & possess all my personal Estate boath wth:in Dores & wth:out dureing her life & then to goe to my Son, Nathanell Motthershead & his heirs for ever. Lastly, I nominate & apoint Loving Wife, Elizabeth, & my Son, Nathanell Motthershead, Exectrs. of this my Last Will & Testament to discharge all Legacies above exprest & to pay all my just Debts I owe. As witness my hand & seale this 13th day of Novembr: 1730 -- John Motthershead
Sign'd Seal'd and publish'd in presence of
William Quesenburey, John Butler, Hum: Pope
Westmoreld.ss. At a Court held for the sd. County the 26th day of May 1731
This Last Will and Testament of John Motthershead, deced., was presented into Court by Elizabeth his Relict & Nathaniel Motthershead his Son, the Executors therein named who made Oath thereto and being proved by the Oaths of Humphrey Pope and John Butler, two of the witnesses thereto, is admitted to Record Test. G, Turberville, C.C.W.
Recorded this 27th day of May 1731 G.T., C.C.W.
1a) 1703: John MOTTERSHEAD won a suit against Robert THORNTON, judgment against THORNTON was for 300 pounds of tobacco which was ordered to be paid along with the costs of the suit, Richmond Co., VA. (1a) 1707: John MOTTERSHED served on jury in a case of alleged trespass and assault; one of the attorneys for the defendant is Nathaniel POPE, Westmoreland Co.,VA
(1) 1707/8, 31 Jan: Deposition of John MOTHERSHEAD, aged about 46 or thereabouts, that about 21 years agone, being newly free and understanding that Mr Wm HORTON was ordered to survey a patent of land belonging to Mr. VAULX, he went with the surveyor in company with Capt. John LORD, and antient Gentleman and a justice then of this county, with other people, nigh the road that leads from a plantation called Vaulx quarter towards Nominy, between the said plantation and Edward WASHINGTON's run. John LORD gave a relation that when John LORD was a young man coming from Nominy with Mr. BROADHURST, at that place heard a noise in the woods and being on foot was afraid supposing it to be Indians, but heard a chopping and soon after come up a survey and people surveighing land. LORD did ask who they were surveying for. They said Mr VAULX in York. LORD showed Mr. HORTON the place where the survey come. HORTON sett his compass and run reverse or back to try to find the place of the old mark trees and had not run above fifty yards before he went close or brushed by a former marked tree which your deponent saw and soon after following his course came to another marked tree which was supposed by the company to be the old line belonging to Mr VAULX land next to Patomac , which course brought the surveyors to the main run of Rappahk. Creek nigh Edward WASHINGTON's. He after heard John LORD relate the same story and add that he would have taken up Sergeant TIMBERNECK? but was afraid of Mr. VAULX patent. Signed John MOTHERSHEAD (J M) . Taken by Lewis MARKHAM, Caleb BUTLER, Andrew MUNROE.
(1a) 1708: John MOTHERSHEAD is one of several who give depositions in a suit to settle land boundary claims, Westmoreland Co., VA. The information given in the deposition seems to indicate this John MOTHERSHEAD is the same one received his "freedome corn" from Thomas POPE in 1692, and is obviously not the same Jonathan Mottershead who owned land on Little Hunting Creek. (1a) 1713: John MOTTERSHEAD, Wm. QUISSENBURY, William WILLIS, Brookes ABBINGTON, Garrard NEELE are jurors seated investigating a drowning death; the inquest is run by Joseph BAYLY; Westmoreland Co., VA. (1a) 1716: John MOTTERSHEAD, deed for 60 acres from Gerrat ONEALE and Jane his wife; wits.Thomas CLAYTOR; Washington Parish, Westmoreland Co., VA; John MOTTERSHED received deed of land "with livery" from Garratt ONEALE and his wife, Jane, who relinquished her right of dower. (1a) 1717: John MOTTERSHEAD and Humphrey QUISSENBERRY ordered to appraise the estate of Henry WILLIAMS, Westmoreland Co., VA. (1a) 1717: Will of John QUISSENBURY presented by Anne QUISSENBURY(widow); John MOTTERSHEAD and Humphrey POPE are two of the men ordered to appraise the estate, Westmoreland Co., VA. (1a) 1729: Christopher MOTTHERSHEAD received deed to 150 acres from William LORD (son and sole heir of John LORD, deceased) in Westmoreland County VA, deed description references "...Popes Creek..." and "...the line between the said LORD and Jno. MOTTERSHEAD, sr., No. Westerly...", witnessed by Nathaniel MOTTHERSAID (sic); William LORD deeds land in Westmoreland County VA to Daniel McCARTY; the land description references "...land now in the possession of John MOTHERSHEAD...", "...Popes Creek..." and "...called MOTHERSHEADs Spring Swamp...", witnesses include Nathaniel MOTTHERSAID. (1) 1730, 13 Nov: John MOTTHERSHEAD of Washington Parish, Westmoreland Co., VA made his will. Called himself sick and weak but of perfect sence & memory. Gave to my Son Nathanell MOTTHERSHEAD the Plantation I now live on & all ye Land therein to belonging to him & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such, then to my Son, Geo. MOTTHERSHEAD & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such, then to my Son, Christopher MOTTHERSHEAD & ye heirs male of his body lawfully begotten & in case of none such then to ye next heir att Law of ye name of ye MOTTHERSHEAD as long as there is any to be found. I give to my Son, John MOTTHERSHEAD, all that track of land whereon he now lives dureing his life & then to his Son, John MOTTHERSHEAD, & his heirs male for ever; I give to my Daughter, Elizabeth QUESENBERY, one Brass Kettle allready in her possession to her & her heirs for ever. I give unto my Daughter, Anne CLAYTOR, two iron pots and an iron spitt allready in her possession to her & her heirs for ever; I give to my Son, Alvin MOTTHERSHEAD my walking cain for ever. I give unto my Son, Christopher MOTTHERSHEAD one two year old heiffer forever. I give unto my Son George MOTTHERSHEAD one Steer of five years old for ever; I give unto my Grandson, Brooks MOTTHERSHEAD one young Mare of three years old provided he bide & remain wth: my Loving Wife & Son, Nathannell till he arrive to ye age of twenty one years. My Will is that my Loving Wife Elizabeth have enjoy & possess all my personal Estate boath wth:in Dores & wthout dureing her life & then to goe to my Son, Nathanell MOTTHERSHEAD & his heirs for ever. Lastly, I nominate & apoint Loving Wife, Elizabeth, & my Son, Nathanell MOTTHERSHEAD Exectrs.. Wits. William QUESENBUREY, John BUTLER, Hum. POPE. (1a) 1730: Will of John MOTHERSHEAD, Westmoreland Co., V A; wife Elizabeth; sons: Nathaniel, George, Christopher and John; daughters Elizabeth QUISENBERRY, Anne CLAYTOR; sons Olvin and George; grandson Brooks (assumed: son of Brooks MOTTERSHED who died Intestate 1718; also "Olvin" is almost certainly "Alvin"). (1) 1731, 26 May: Last Will and Testament of John MOTTHERSHEAD, deced., was presented into Court by Elizabeth his Relict & Nathaniel MOTTHERSHEAD his Son, the Executors therein named who made Oath thereto and being proved by the Oaths of Humphrey POPE and John BUTLER, two of the witnesses thereto.
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